Which stylistic devices are used in The Crucible?

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Similes and metaphors are examples of stylistic devices. They are both comparisons, although similes contain the word "like" or "as."

Abigail uses this simile when talking to John:

"You clutched my back behind your house and sweated like a stallion whenever I come near!"

Another example of simile in the text:

"I will fall like an ocean on that court!"

Below is a metaphor, comparing theology to a fortress:

"Theology, sir, is a fortress; no crack in a fortress may be accounted small."

Personification gives human-like qualities to something. John uses personification in this famous quote:

"I'll tell you what's walking in Salem—vengeance is walking in Salem."

The below quote from John is another example of personification, and can also be considered an example of hyperbole.

"Oh Elizabeth, your justice would freeze beer."

The play is filled with dramatic and situational irony. One specific example is in Act II, when Hale visits the Proctors. He asks John to recite the Ten Commandments. John does so, but is missing one. He forgets "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery," and needs a clue from his wife. This is ironic because John truly has forgotten this sin; we know that he did commit adultery and had an affair with Abigail prior to the events of the play.

Arthur Miller uses many symbols in the text. The poppet, the forest, and John's signature can all be viewed as symbols. In fact, the title itself is a symbol. A crucible can be defined as a severe trial, or a container for heating substances. Both definitions are fitting, as the entire town is put on trial, and metaphorically under lots of heat. As Danforth says,

"We burn a hot fire here; it melts down all concealment."

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Arthur Miller's The Crucible is a pretty complex construction of literature, full of various elements and devices. Miller makes use of hyperbole, allusion, and irony, among other elements, in order to convey the overarching message of the story.

Hyperbole is used to show how merciless the legal system in Salem is. For example, we hear from Judge Danforth:

If retaliation is your fear, know this—I should hang ten thousand that dared to rise against the law, and an ocean of salt tears could not melt the resolution of all the statues.

Rather unsurprisingly, since religion is a central theme of The Crucible, Miller uses various allusions to the Bible throughout the story. For example, Miller uses a biblical allusion to convey a message about Abigail's character:

Abigail brings the other girls into the court, and where she walks the crowd will part like the Sea for Israel.

This passage shows how much notoriety Abigail has garnered through her constant accusations, the crowd reacting with either fear or awe of her when she comes near. Miller also uses biblical allusion to show how ironically un-Christian Salem's actions are; effectively murdering people based on a simple (and false) accusation. For example, when his wife is arrested, John Proctor shouts to the Reverend:

Pontius Pilate! God will not let you wash you hands of this!

John makes it clear that the Reverend, though he feels he is fulfilling some kind of Christian duty assigned by the court, will be responsible for what happens to Elizabeth and all the others who will fall victim to false witchcraft accusations. This also speaks to the irony of the story, one of Miller's major themes. In a town that is supposed to be a haven of Christianity, Salem descends into a murderous craze with people turning against one another, making false accusations, and sending innocent people to hang.

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Arthur Miller, the author of the play, writes a sort of narrator for this work -- someone who interjects frequently in Act I -- to introduce characters, give the audience background information, etc.  We can call it authorial intrusion; the dialogue stops and this narrator steps in to tell us something it would be helpful to know, something the character is unlikely to reveal to us themselves: for example, John Proctor thinks he's "a fraud," Abigail Williams has an "endless capacity for dissembling," etc. 

Miller also makes heavy use of irony.  Dramatic irony is created when the audience knows more than a particular character, and it heightens tension and helps to build suspense.  For example, when Proctor, Francis Nurse, and Giles Corey come to the court in Act III to present their evidence against the girls and in favor of their wives (namely, the testimony of Mary Warren), Deputy Governor Danforth refuses to believe them; he says that the state believes "that the voice of Heaven is speaking through the children."  However, we know that Proctor is right: the girls are lying, but Dadnforth doesn't know this.  This is dramatic irony

It is also terribly ironic that Danforth refuses to believe Mary Warren, the only girl who is telling the truth, especially when he makes statements like, "We burn a hot fire here; it melts down all concealment."  On the contrary, the entire proceedings are founded on the deception of the girls!  This is an example of situational irony: the people who tell the truth are thought to be liars, and the liars are seen as truthful by the court.  We would expect the reverse -- that the truth will out, as they say -- especially in a court, but it is not so.

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